Early this year, we provided our look into the crystal ball to see what was on the FCC’s agenda for broadcasters in the coming year. Yesterday, the FCC published in the Federal Register its own list – its Semiannual Regulatory Agenda – listing an inventory of the matters at the FCC awaiting Commission action. The
Next Gen TV
Looking Into the Crystal Ball – What’s Coming in Broadcast Regulation in 2023 From the FCC
It’s a new year, and it’s time to look ahead at what Washington may have in store for broadcasters this year. The FCC may be slow to tackle some of the big issues on its agenda (like the completion of 2018 Quadrennial Review or any other significant partisan issue) as it still has only four Commissioners – two Democrats and two Republicans. On controversial issues like changes to the ownership rules, there tends to be a partisan divide. As the nomination of Gigi Sohn expired at the end of the last Congress in December, the Biden administration was faced with the question of whether to renominate her and hope that the confirmation process moves more quickly this time, or to come up with a new nominee whose credentials will be reviewed by the Senate. It was announced this week that the administration has decided to renominate her, meaning that her confirmation process will begin anew. How long that process takes and when the fifth commissioner is seated may well set the tone for what actions the FCC takes in broadcast regulation this year.
Perhaps the most significant issue at the FCC facing broadcasters is the resolution of the 2018 Quadrennial Review to assess the current local ownership rules and determine if they are still in the public interest. As we wrote last week, the FCC has already started the 2022 review, as required by Congress, even though it has not resolved the issues raised in the 2018 review. For the radio industry, those issues include the potential relaxation of the local radio ownership rules. As we have written, some broadcasters and the NAB have pushed the FCC to recognize that the radio industry has significantly changed since the ownership limits were adopted in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and local radio operators need a bigger platform from which to compete with the new digital companies that compete for audience and advertising in local markets. Other companies have been reluctant to endorse changes – but even many of them recognize that relief from the ownership limits on AM stations would be appropriate.…
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September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: Reg Fees, Foreign Government Program Certifications, Final Chance to Claim Reimbursement for Repacking Expenses, Comments on ATSC 3.0 and FTC Advertising Inquiry, and More
As summer begins to wind down, just like the rest of the world, the FCC and other government agencies seem to pick up speed on long delayed actions. Broadcasters can anticipate increased regulatory activity in the coming months. For September, there are a few dates to which all broadcasters should pay attention, and a few that will be of relevance to a more limited group. As always, pay attention to these dates, and be prepared to address any other important deadlines that we may have overlooked, or which are unique to your station.
All commercial broadcasters will need to pay attention to actions which will likely come in rapid fire in the next two weeks, setting the deadlines for payment of the Annual Regulatory Fees that must be paid before the October 1 start of the next fiscal year for the FCC. Look for an Order very soon deciding on the final amounts for those fees. That Order will be quickly followed by a Public Notice setting the payment dates and procedures. Then watch for fact sheets from each of the Bureaus at the FCC. The Media Bureau fact sheet will cover the fees to be paid by broadcasters. Be ready to pay those fees by the announced September deadline, as the failure to pay on time brings steep penalties.
Continue Reading September Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: Reg Fees, Foreign Government Program Certifications, Final Chance to Claim Reimbursement for Repacking Expenses, Comments on ATSC 3.0 and FTC Advertising Inquiry, and More
August Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: Regulatory Fees, EEO Reports, Many Rulemaking Comment Dates, and More
With the end of summer upon us, we begin to look forward to the regulatory issues that will face broadcasters as we barrel toward the end of the year. One date on many broadcaster’s minds is the date by which the annual regulatory fees will be due to be paid. While the payment date is almost certainly going to be sometime in September, look for an FCC decision on the amount of those fees at some point in late August. As we wrote in last week’s summary of regulatory actions (and in many before), the amount that broadcasters will pay remains a matter of dispute, so watch for the resolution of that dispute by September, as fees must be paid before the October 1 start of the FCC’s next fiscal year.
But many other dates of importance to broadcasters will occur well before the resolution of the regulatory fee issue. August 1 is the deadline for full power television, Class A television, LPTV, and TV translator license renewal applications for stations in California. As we have previously advised, renewal applications must be accompanied by FCC Form 2100, Schedule 396 Broadcast EEO Program Report (except for LPFMs and TV translators). Stations filing for renewal of their license should make sure that all documents required to be uploaded to the station’s online public file are complete and were uploaded on time. Note that your Broadcast EEO Program Report must include two years of Annual EEO Public File Reports for FCC review, unless your employment unit employs fewer than five full-time employees. Be sure to read the instructions for the license renewal application and consult with your advisors if you have questions, especially if you have noticed any discrepancies in your online public file or political file. Issues with the public file have already led to fines imposed on TV broadcasters during this renewal cycle.
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This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters: June 25, 2022 to July 8, 2022
Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the past two weeks, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.
- The FCC has issued a Public Notice confirming the comment and reply comment dates for its Third Further Notice
This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters: March 5, 2022 to March 11, 2022
Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the last week, and a look ahead to events of importance next week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.
- The Media Bureau this week released the first of what
March Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: EAS and Next Gen TV Rulemaking Comments, Incentive Auction Reimbursements, TV Auction, GMR Licensing Deadline, and More
March is one of those months where no regularly scheduled FCC deadlines fall. But there are still plenty of other deadlines and dates of importance to broadcasters that fall during this month, from comment dates in rulemaking proceedings, to the start of an auction for new TV stations and the completion of the reimbursement cycle for certain stations involved in the TV repack, to deadlines for radio stations to sign up for the GMR license agreement, and even, with daylight savings time upon us, the time for certain AM stations to adjust their operating parameters.
Let’s start with the rulemaking proceedings. On March 11, comments are due on an FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks to enhance visual EAS messages to assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Reply comments on the NPRM are due by March 28. The same Federal Register notice that set these comment dates also references an associated Notice of Inquiry that asks for suggestions on how to improve the current EAS daisy chain architecture to better deliver alerts. Comments and reply comments on the NOI are due by April 11 and May 10, respectively.
Interested parties that want to reply to comments submitted on the FCC’s Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the ATSC 3.0 (Next Gen TV) proceeding must have those reply comments in by March 14. In that proceeding, the FCC proposes to allow Next Gen TV stations to include within their license certain of their multicast streams that are aired on “host” stations during a transitional period. Under the FCC’s proposals that are designed to clear up which entity is responsible for legal and regulatory compliance, such multicast streams will be part of the originating station’s license, not that of the “host” station. See the Federal Register notice, here, and read the comments submitted to the docket, here.
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February Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters: Children’s TV Reporting, License Renewals, EEO Filings, FCC Proceedings, and More
Before we jump into February dates, let’s take a look at some important dates still to come in January. Noncommercial radio applicants whose applications were found to be mutually exclusive (MX) with one or more other applications filed in the reserved band window have through January 28 to submit technical amendments or work with others in their MX group to enter into settlement agreements or otherwise resolve conflicts. See the MX groups, here, and the Public Notice setting out the details of the settlement window and filing procedures, here.
By January 31, television stations must fulfill their now-annual obligation to prepare and file a Children’s Television Programming Report (Form 2100, Schedule H). Also due to be uploaded to the online public file is a certification of compliance with commercial limits in children’s programming. Schedule H would normally be due to be filed by January 30 but, as that date is a Sunday this year, the filing deadline is the next business day—January 31. Records documenting compliance with the limits on the number of commercial minutes that stations can allow in children’s programming are also due to be uploaded to each full-power and Class A TV station’s public file by January 31—another January 30 deadline pushed to the next business day. As a reminder, the quarterly filings were replaced with annual filings as part of the 2019 KidVid rule changes (we summarized those changes, here).
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This Week in Regulation for Broadcasters – December 11, 2021 to December 17, 2021
Here are some of the regulatory developments of significance to broadcasters from the last week, with links to where you can go to find more information as to how these actions may affect your operations.
- Music licensing organization Global Music Rights (GMR) has agreed to a three-month extension of its current interim licensing agreement. GMR
With Two Nominations to Fill Out the FCC, What Are the Issues for Broadcasters?
With the Administration’s decision to renominate Jessica Rosenworcel for another term on the FCC and to select her as the permanent chair of the Commission, and the nomination of Gigi Sohn to fill the vacant seat on the FCC, and assuming both are confirmed by the Senate (though the Wall Street Journal noted that there…